Macau is currently considering making illicit currency exchange near casinos a criminal felony under its jurisdiction. Wong Sio Chak, Secretary for Security, made the announcement during a media briefing on crime statistics for the first half of 2023.
Wong stressed the harmful impact of improper money exchange on casino security and the surrounding communities, stating that it frequently leads to additional criminal activity such as scams, illegal detentions, assaults, and even homicides.
Although a sizable chunk of their patronage hails from mainland China, where there are limitations on the amount of yuan that can be moved across the border, Macau’s casinos largely employ Hong Kong dollars for gambling. The Public Prosecutions Office of Macau now classifies money exchange as a private transaction falling under the city’s financial regulatory framework as opposed to being treated as criminal charges.
The Judiciary Police are in support of criminalization, according to Wong. As an alternative, they are looking into options like severely raising fines as a deterrence and excluding criminals from entering the country.
Gaming-related offences increased by 110 percent year over year during the first half of the year, hitting 422 cases as opposed to 198 cases in H1 2022, according to the Office of the Secretary for Security of Macau. A total of 8,124 illegal bet-money changers were discovered, a 200 percent increase, and 488 people have been informed that they will no longer be allowed inside casinos.
Original Story by Focus Asia Pacific
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